Best Cookbooks of 2010

9 Dec

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

I must say how delighted I am — and how unexpected it was — to have Radically Simple reviewed in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review and then again in yesterday’s New York Times dining section.  It was a rich year for cookbooks and so it was especially rewarding to be recognized.  Julia Moskin was the author of yesterday’s review.  On top of a hand-held tray of a stack of ten books, was the story’s title:  Inspiration, Anyone?  Subtitle: What the cook ordered — a fresh batch of recipes.  And I suppose that’s what we’re all looking for.  I was not familiar with all the books on that tray and appreciated having them pointed out to me.  I am a big fan of chef David Tanis, whose sensibility about food is sometimes as radically simple as mine. His book, “The Heart of the Artichoke” is a lovely sequel to “A Platter of Figs.”  I look forward to Madhur Jaffrey’s book, I always do; I have had the pleasure of being a guest with Madhur on an NPR radio show not so long ago.  More recently, I have longingly gazed at a book called “India”, divinely packaged in a white burlap rice bag.  How nice to know it’s worth buying!  I look forward to purchasing “The Book of Tapas” by Simone and Ines Ortega (years ago our company created a tapas bar for the Hotel Arts in Barcelona), and Sarabeth Levine’s beautiful book “Sarabeth’s Bakery.” I already own Dorie Greenspan’s wonderfully evocative tome called “Around My French Table,” and I am all too happy to read anything by Maya Angelou, especially something called “Great Food, All Day Long.”

Here’s an excerpt of what Ms. Moskin had to say:  “Rozanne Gold is the personal trainer of food writers: she has been on a strict regime of 1-2-3 cookbooks.  Her new book, Radically Simple (Rodale), has more flexibility, promising ‘restaurant-worthy food without a single extraneous motion or ingredient.’ She wrings stylish, streamlined, fabulous results with inspired combinations like avocado, lime and smoked paprika, and unexpected techniques, like roasting grapes, that restore drama to chicken breasts.”

And I’m pleased that Quentin Bacon’s photograph of  “Sauteed Chicken with Roasted Grapes” loomed so large on the page.  It looked really beautiful.  You will find the recipe in a previous blog.

Today I’ll share the other recipe cited by Ms. Moskin.  It can be found in the chapter called “10-Minute Salads.”

Spooned Avocado, Lime & Smoked Paprika
This is a radically simplified version of guacamole that is very impromptu.  Serve it almost as soon as you spoon it.  Nice to serve with “batons” of crunchy jicama. Ripe avocados required!

4 very ripe medium avocados
2 to 4 large limes
20 grape tomatoes
1/4 large red onion, slivered
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, or more to taste
2 handfuls baby arugula
1/4 cup olive oil

Cut the avocados in half; remove the pits.  Using a large spoon, scoop large pieces into a large bowl.  Squeeze the juice of 2 limes over the avocado.  Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise.  Add the tomatoes and slivered onion to the bowl.  Add the smoked paprika and salt to taste.  Add the arugula; drizzle oil over everything.  Toss, adding more lime juice, salt, and smoked paprika to taste.  Serves 4

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